15465/Contested Space

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Contested Space
Date of Scene: 13 August 2023
Location: Club Lux, Melville
Synopsis: A new face in Lux and a little tete a tete regarding outcomes and projects with the head of X-force. The thlot plickens.
Cast of Characters: Sinister, Psylocke, Copycat

Sinister has posed:
Even a place like Lux has to get things started up somehow -- when the doors officially open, the nightlife isn't always out yet. It usually arrives and proliferates later on in the evening, when the host of the place has dragged himself downstairs and is mingling with the masses.

Thusly, it's rather quiet in the high class establishment. One of the entertainers that ISN'T Lucifer is tickling the ivories with some contemorary songs and there are a few early knock-offs from the big city, having a drink socially with their secretaries before going home to their wives and mistresses. Or their husbands. It's a modern world... but generally, it's a bit lacking in the evening population.

Thus, the happy hour -- first drink is on the house and then half-price until ten PM, to get people in the mood. At the bar is a stranger, a young man, dressed in what can only be described as 'goth with style' because the entire look cost a small fortune. His hair is tied back in a ponytail with a skull-fastened leather strap, the leather dress coat looks tailored. Nails painted black, skin as pale as snow and dark sunglasses on indoors. It's Essex, only... not middle aged. This might throw the unfamiliar off. He's nursing a Hurricane under the black light, playing with a small plastic flourescent parrot on the rim, which helps hold the fruit in place.
Psylocke has posed:
Betsy Braddock is exactly the sort of person that appears at face value to belong in a club like this. She practically radiates fine, elegant grace; from the way she dips her head in mute thanks to the bouncer as she sways inside, to her couture outfit. She's wearing an aqua dress, form fitting and short of length -- decorated with silver beads and adorned with a little train of airy material that hangs out from her waist, floating out behind her as she strides along in two-inch aqua heels. Her hair is done up, pinned into a braided violet crown with silver and aqua threads. She wears a single, simple diamond at her throat.

Really, she looks like she just stepped off a catwalk. For Betsy though, it's just another day in New York.

Much like the last time she entered, the violet-haired woman takes her time, getting the lay of the land. This visit is not scheduled, on purpose. Perhaps she wants to see how things run when the host is not in the house, so to speak. It's not as busy as the last time she was here, and she navigates the stairs, heading for the bar with that unconscious sway of her hips.

Even as observant as she is, she doesn't recognize Nathaniel at a glance, painted nails tapping the bar as she steps up two seats down from him, eyes going to the bartender.
Copycat has posed:
She is also here, but She's using her powers for some fun, and it helps her learn how to use her powers. So here she is, but she's not her white hair, blue skin normal.. or even her human version. She went BLOND! . She's wearing a Black Cross X strappy top!

     Given her look and dress, she kinda looks the part to some of the ladies who come here later at night.. but right now, she moves towards the bar and motions for a drink.

Sinister has posed:
Sinister may not be able to sense the one lady, but that does not preclude the other. Sitting straighter on the barstool, he tilts his head upward, gazing upon the ceiling, then over his shoulder to look down toward the entrance. And that is why he's aware of Betsy's arrival, tracking her as she ascends the stairs but looking beyond after -- as if he weren't resting attention upon her, in favour of blonde and unfamiliar.

"Hmm," plucking a slice of pineapple from its nest of fruity neighbours, he bites into it, a casual thing as he tracks Copycat across to the bar area also. Nope. Still no recognition, which leaves an intrigued aftertaste.

But it's Betsy he addresses first. "Pink panthers are good here. I don't know why, it's the raspberry gin, I think. Better than your average, anyway." The voice even, isn't quite old enough. It's still English, but more Londoner, less Aristocrat. This is probably a game, to him.
Psylocke has posed:
The first drink is free... but normally, such things are merely house wines or beer, and Betsy has standards. Her painted, aqua nails are flawless, as is her storied English accent. "I prefer martinis, myself," the woman responds, without looking -- at first, at the man -- but the accent pulls her attention enough that she looks.

Something familiar, but she isn't sure what yet.

"-but I'll take you at your word. Should it prove false, I assume you'll be happy to take the blame as readily as the credit?"

She's intrigued enough that she reaches out, mentally. Just a light touch to seek his surface thoughts. Habit: to check for potential enemies. That the bartender tends to the blonde woman first despite her arrival before doesn't much seem to bother Betsy.
Copycat has posed:
Copycat Looks over, too she always likes British accents, so she looks over, a bit curious. She looks over the elegant betsy. She seems impressed by Betsy look and cocks her head a bit before she frowns.. then holds her head a moment and for just a second, that blonds hair gets whiter before it moves back .. She shakes her head a moment as if she's adjusting to something ..

     She reaches down and adjusts her dress for a moment before she beams a smile to the bartender and takes a sip of her drink " Can you get me a Pink Panther next please "
Sinister has posed:
Mind? What mind is this? There are impressive shields, one must only assume that you'd have to take down the generators to get behind those blast doors. And the smile grows at the fleeting contact, crooked and be-dimpled. "I do the same thing myself, so I doubt I have a leg to stand on if I were to protest," Essex murmurs, finishing the pineapple slice. "You can blame me for all the ills of a poor drink choice all you like Betsy, but I doubt you'll be disappointed." Red flashes briefly behind the dark sunglasses, illuminating finely arched eyebrows for the most fleeting of moments.

And beyond, to the blond with a flash of white, he tilts his head to the side, leaning with it, to get a better look. "I'm rather certain I've never met -you- before, though I'm glad to see advice taken without caveat."
Psylocke has posed:
There are few people who have the strength to keep out Betsy: and moreover fewer still that by habit have a shield up in place. It narrows down the list sufficiently that Betsy's twitch of lips is apparent even before he addresses her by name.

Her laugh is genuinely delighted when the recognition kicks in, violet eyes taking in his altered visage with a keen interest that an outsider might observe to be intensely personal. Much more than the kind of way an interested woman looks at a man. "Then I will, Nathaniel. You are a true gentleman."

The gleam of his eyes brightens hers, as she turns back to the bartender. "One- two, pink panthers," the elegant model orders. There's very little in her demeanor that makes it apparent, but there's a momentary distraction, watching not the pair at the pair but her attention shifting. Only belatedly does her focus come back to the moment, to catch Nathaniel's advice to the blonde. "The advice of a stranger can be delightful... or dangerous."
Copycat has posed:
Copycat Stretches a bit on the bar a little like a cat as she looks over at both " hmm? No I don't think I've been either of you before. Well I know about both of you, well sorta," She peers at Sinister " I kinda know who you are but not sure.. kinda fuzzy," she says .. She looks to Psylocke " I know you from school, but not like this, " She motions

     " You look amazing, by the way, " She adds. She looks down " This is just an outfit I threw on to work on my skills " Since she's not sure who Sinister is she's not saying much. She Thinks about his comment though, " Well, that drink did sound good " .
Sinister has posed:
"I aim to please," Sinister inclines his head, steering the bendy straw in his hurricane toward his lips, peering over the top of his sunglasses now. His eyes are a crystal clear, icy blue, like a wolf's. Striking! "And they really are quite refreshing..."

But those? Those were some choice words from the strange young woman he doesn't recognize. "Oh, now you have me -doubley- intrigued. Just who do you think I am, that you could ever have -been- me? I think you'd have remembered..." he chuckles at that, the sound very slightly darkling, not a threat just filled with a kind of promise that suggests he's a hundred percent right about his statement. She definitely would've remembered being this particular face.

"A student then, I'd summise. And I'm going to say a shapeshifter."
Psylocke has posed:
It's a combination of things that gives Betsy awareness. Meeting her precise kind of mental shield. Copycat indicating she knows Betsy. Recognition briefly flares in the telepath's gaze, but she says nothing. It's not in her nature to out another's status. She merely smiles at the compliment. "I'm headed out to an event at the Met later. I thought I would stop by for a drink."

The drinks arrive. Betsy sips from her glass, and the faint noise she makes seems to be approving. All the while though, she's watching the pair.

Other people would provide warnings, maybe. Or caution. Betsy merely watches to see what will happen.
Copycat has posed:
Copycat Grins" One correct, one wrong," She says softly towards Sinister. She looks at him " I've never been you. I just think I know about you. I am kinda new to all this, " She motions to Betsy and him, "The whole mutant thing, but I'm getting used to it " .

     She sits her model butt onto a chair and crosses those long tanned legs. She also sips and HMS " That is a good drink, though," she smiles. She nods to Besty " Others have been giving me a crash mutant course, so forgive me, I think I've heard somebody with your details. The fact your British helps to narrow it down".
Sinister has posed:
"Yes, indeed," Sinister replies drolly. "There's only an island with several million of us. We all know Fred, from accounting too." He exhales a soft amused sounding snort and sips on the Hurricane. He slides eyes to Betsy and back again, with a sigh. "I've got to be good, haven't I?" said in a mock put-upon voice. "Well, who do you actually think I am?" because here, he shrinks visibly, several inches and shakes his shoulders out, tucks his arms in and adjusts his waistcoat as harder lines become softer curves, all rather subtley in all fairness, until where there was a gothic man, there's a gothic woman, with a sultry voice to match.

"She is right though, you -do- look faaaabulous, darling." This to Betsy. Sinister even has glossy deep plum lipstick on now, with pencilled outline for added emphasis.

And absolutely nobody but them, not even the barman, paid the slightest bit of attention.
Psylocke has posed:
There's a twitch in Betsy's otherwise perfectly composed features, somewhere around when Copycat admits to being a mutant and gestures to the pair of them. Her turn is slight, barely noticeable. There's maybe a handful of people in hearing range. Some haven't heard, and are dismissed. Two have, though, because Betsy can /feel/ their attention in her mind. She follows those threads, sears the end of those memories, and releases them none-the-wiser.

It happens in seconds. Betsy Braddock does this practically without thinking; clearly she has long practice and no compunctions at all about such use.

Betsy may /sound/ British but her appearance is conversely and confusingly Japanese; paired with violet hair and eyes it makes for a complicated bucking of cultural associations. Her manner though is all haughtily aristocratic, more than merely teacher-like. "Too new to comprehend that borrowing other's powers is considered rude. A lesser person might be tempted to show you the error of such judgements."

It's why, when Nathaniel looks her way and sighs over the necessity of /being good/, she smiles. "Oh, don't trouble yourself on my account, Nathaniel. The best lessons are the ones personally learned." As the man transforms into a woman, a bright laugh escapes her, violet eyes clearly just as fascinated as she admires the new form. "Full of surprises. I love it. Thank you; and I should say the same of you. If I had any criticism," her head tilts, thoughtfully: "I would add a hat to complete the outfit. Too few wear hats these days. I'm rather partial to them."
Copycat has posed:
Copycat Looks down at the watch that isn't around before she blinks " Well, I gotta run , your right I can't control it yet.. I should go work on that " She smiles " I have a date cya guys," as she starts to run up the stairs, but she shifts as she does so.. clothes included, slowly shifting into a young Asian girl as she gives a smile and wave.
Sinister has posed:
Miss Sinister watches the departure of the hyperactive, settling her elbow onto the bar in a lean. People still haven't watched or recognized anything happened there, but that's the nature of her trickery when she plays around with things. A thousand distractions to keep focus elsewhere, including 'did I leave the kettle on?' which tends to be vexxed by '...it has a timer switch you idiot'. She stirs the drink with the bendy straw, slipping eyes from Copycat back to Betsy, with a peek up and to the left, as if she could actually look at her own head.

"Quite agree," she reaches into her coat lapel, pulling at something and shuffling her other shoulder until she extracts a cowboy hat, complete with a brim of sugar skull ceramics in a chain. She considers it, shrugs and drops it laxidazically on her head. "I tend to like hats. I like it when gentlemen hold the doors open for ladies, teachers, clergy and casual passers by, too. Society went downhill around about the time when nobody had enough hours in the day." She muses, pouts and looks back coquettish.

"So. I'm going to presume that you've been testing the waters with one delicately painted toenail, since last we spoke?"
Psylocke has posed:
Is that disappointment in Betsy's features at the timing of that departure? If so, it's readily covered by the lift of the glass to her lips, sipping delicately. The immediate production of a cowboy hat receives an approving smile from the model. She even reaches out a little to touch the brim, with the intention of pulling it down a little lower at the front.

"Adds mystique," Betsy concludes, eyes bright. "And you will get no objections from me on any of those points. Though I expect in your case it's a personal observation rather than a societal one." It might be an invitation for her companion to elaborate more, or just an amused note.

The coquettish look from Miss Sinister is met by an amused one from the model. "You might say that." Her face gives nothing away. "Some unexpected gains, some unexpected losses. I'm hopeful." She is not a /hopeful/ person; it's a turn of phrase. She's vexxed and unsettled and morose and yet far too savvy to allow too much of that to show in front of a master manipulator like Nathaniel Essex.
Sinister has posed:
"Nice, precise and concise. I like it. Goes to show an excellent command of the English language, my dear, which in this case, is rather like revealing lingerie. The less you see, the more you show." A painted fingrnail is held up now for the barman. "Kiff. I need chocolate and don't you -dare- make a comment," there's a stifled grin from the barman, but he brings over a decanter with a couple of shotglasses, setting everything nearby Miss Sin. She pours two, nudging one over with her pinky finger, Betsy's way.

"Exotic, made rather exclusively in Morocco, rather strong, entirely indulgent with a hint of coffee." She informs, taking her own shot and sipping, with a smack of lips to appreciate flavour and round up the verbal sheep.

"The observation was a little personal, a little societal. People these days are rude, presumptive and the vast majority of them are intellectually and socially lazy. But that's a sign of the times themselves, as far as I can work out. Technological advances have made the minds of many, rather sluggish and disengaged. I've strived to improve that when I can." She shrugs. "I'm going to guess that Logan at least, spat nails."
Psylocke has posed:
There's a quietly amused noise from Betsy as Miss Sin talks of lingerie. "Less is more," she agrees, "Except when it comes to taffeta. There is a /line/ there." And, probably, a story, judging by the way it sounds personal.

It probably says something that there's no hesitation in Betsy to accept the drink as it's nudged her way. She sips, savoring it in the same way she would the most expensive of wines. "You have the most delightful tastebuds. Should you decide to change your calling, you could make a fortune menu planning." A beat, as her amusement warms her expression. "If I could afford you, I'd hire you personally."

"Is it presumptuous to ask precisely what improving the minds of the many means, precisely?" Betsy asks with a lift of brow; the kind of look of someone who isn't sure she wants to know the answer, but curious enough to face the consequences.

The mention of Logan has Betsy exhaling a breath. "He's considering," she concedes. "I'm not going to push him." Even if she badly wants to, apparent in the brief thinning of lips; she has too much respect for him to do anything else. And she's not truly desperate, not yet. "But I really need him. Patience is an art, one of which I've not often been accused of being a master of."
Sinister has posed:
"Why, thank you. Maybe I'll take it up as a hobby from time to time. Certainly, it bears practice, as I can imagine there'd be a few situations that would be quite handy to have as a skill..." are they talking about the same thing? It seems so, as Miss Sin appears to be genuinely writing that one behind her ear for later. She slides eyes sidelong, making her lips into a gently disaproving moue for a moment. "Come, come. You immediately went to the worse case scenario there, didn't you? Schools. Libraries. Social programs that invest in the underprivaleged, giving them the room to manoever. All of those things improve the minds of others, giving them an opportunity to invest in actually having a life worth living. These things improve us. Make us better, do they not? Well, there's the hope anyway. I'm sure there's plenty that turn knowledge into a weapon -- that too, is human nature." She shrugs, enjoying the liquer a few more moments.

"I caveat every dealing with don't trust me. He takes it very literally. But he also has good reason to. Everyone does, really."

Pause, beat.

"You could try the approach of keeping the enemy in your sights, just because this one is annoyingly close by and keeps running into you for one reason or another. If he or she's out of your view, that's considerably more dangerous than if you've got an eye on them. I mean, I could be doing just about -anything- when you're not keeping a solid eyeball or ten on me. Right?" Eyelash flutter. "But there might be a hint of someone else's problem and out of sight, out of mind going on there."
Psylocke has posed:
A little curve of Betsy's lips. "How very charitable," she says, and yet it seems to be genuine. "It isn't personal, that assumption, but borne of my own observations. The amount of times I've caught one of the kids sneaking a peek at their phones during class, well-" her lips twist, and voice becomes something cold and precise, "I make them live to regret such inattentativeness. It seems to be effective. If I could extend it beyond the school's control I would be sorely tempted."

There's a reason Betsy was chosen to be the martial arts teacher, and it isn't for Betsy's warmth.

"I don't think this will be solved by logic, Nathaniel." She still uses that address, out of habit, despite his change of appearance. Another sip is had of the shot glass, before she turns violet gaze with a tip towards the other woman. "He had particular issue with a town. He called it your living petri dish." There's a question in the timbre of her voice.
Sinister has posed:
"I can only imagine. But the tendancy to daydream is as old as time, be it by staring at a phone or looking out of the window at the clouds. They'll learn." That comment made, there's a frown.

"That, still? You would've thought -that- would be the least offensive..." Sin sighs, shakes her head with it. "I've several townships that are a kind of healthy living petri dish if you like. They're studies, but not in a dissect and torture way. In a 'if I can eliminate as many external variables from the environment and agricultural table, will it make a difference in the purity and commonality of natural mutations' kind of way, which I suppose makes little difference if you're Logan. If you look up the stats for Moreau, it has significanly lower cancer rates than other towns. Slightly longer life expectancy, also. General standards of living are higher, which nationally are actually on a decline." Sinister shrugs her shoulders up. "Not everything that I do is anathema. Some of it is just watching things over a long, long period of time, because there's no other way to gather accurate data."
Psylocke has posed:
"Most people's daydreams are a dull waste of time," spoken like a telepath who has, on more than one occasion, listened in. Nathaniel has had time to build restraint, Betsy has only impatience.

Betsy is not in any way shocked by Sinister's explanation. Why should she be, really, when she's been kidnapped to a fully controlled, fully monitored television-broadcast world. Compared to Mojoverse, to /her/ at least, it seems tame. Then again, it's been a long time since Betsy's sense of morality could be said to be anything temperate.

"I'm not the one you need to convince. If there's someone else you think might have better luck -- Rogue, perhaps?" she suggests, with a tilt of head, "You might be better served pursuing that avenue. She seemed comfortable enough with you that other time I saw her."

A sigh escapes Betsy as she turns the shot glass between delicate fingers. "And truly, you're not the only problem. I'm part of it, too. He's convinced himself I'm bringing about the vision I've seen by doing what I'm doing." Betsy's voice is kind of distant. Does she believe it? No. But she can't discount the possibility, either. Prophetic visions aren't precisely like reading a manual.
Sinister has posed:
"Well, he might be right. But that is the doom of mankind and mutant kind both, Apathy. If we are convinced that we will make things worse by trying to make them better, they will fail because we did nothing at all." And that is something Essex has never been good at, doing nothing. Still, she shakes her head again once, gazing off into the middle distance.

"I don't have to convince Rogue of anything. I don't actually need to convince Logan, either. It's not my business if he does nothing. It'd end up being his shame." She sniffs.

"When you and your nascent team are ready, please contact me. I'd like you all to examine the Apophis stone samples in a safe environment, see if any of you can glean anything more than I did. It's possible." She concedes that. "Also, I badly need to decide whether I should try and save some... unlucky individuals, or whether I should accept advise given by people with bigger agendas and terminate them all."
Psylocke has posed:
"You don't have to," Betsy concedes this, expression turned careful. In this moment, Nathaniel's refusal to assist unintentionally stops a poor moral choice for the greater good. Not the first, but one of many to come. A test she will likely fail more than not, given the disappointment in her manner.

The shot glass is pushed away with a single, aqua nail, as Betsy rises.

"I will," she agrees, "Along with the advice not to eat them." The gleam though, in her eyes, seems dangerous. A want to get near the stones. An as-yet unacknowledged obsession. In the same way he considers it not his business to involve himself in the interplay of X-Force, she seems determined to keep herself separate from that which he ponders so casually and mercilessly. "I know too little about your situation to even begin to unpack that. All I will say is to think about how you felt responsibility for certain events. This, too, I suspect, will weigh on you regardless of what you choose."

Violet eyes study her for a moment. "I am now, officially, fashionably late, which is the perfect time to arrive. Thank you for the drink. Drinks." And Betsy leans with the intent of giving Miss Sin an air kiss, just as she would any other European fashionista; playing into the visage he currently wears. "Enlightening as always, Nathaniel."
Sinister has posed:
"Quite," Occasionally, a single word answer is precisely long enough. The air kiss is returned with a voice 'mwah!' and a raise of the fingers to do a little trill of movement in the air.

There was a smile, but it faded quickly. Having a nascent conscience is a bastard, when it's so pathetically rusty.